The United Way of Erie County announces $2.1 million to expand its community schools strategy.
In just over a year, United Way has seen the success of the Community Schools Initiative. And, in what they are calling, “a historic board meeting” earlier this month, the United Way Board of Directors approved the expansion into the county and extensive funding to go with it.
$2.1 million over three years will be invested to support a countywide expansion of the Community Schools Strategy. The first two county schools joining the list: Elk Valley Elementary and Iroquois Elementary School.
United Way Erie Co-Board Chair Janel Bonsell tells us, “there is such a high cost to get a comm. school that we are doing one at a time. After today’s announcement, we have seven… we want them all, the community has to embrace it the school has to embrace it; it’s got to be the right fit.”
It’s the hope that the expansion will help to reduce poverty by focusing on student success from birth and family stability to achieve improved community conditions overall. These two schools have been working to become a part of the program for some time and are eager to see the results once they take effect.
Superintendent of the Girard School District, Donna Miller, says, “it’s so important to us because our schools really already are the hub for the community and they are the heart of the community. So, when we can use those school buildings all day, every day and on the weekend for our community teachers and students, then we really can achieve more success by partnering together”.
Elk Valley and Iroquois will officially be a part of the Community Schools Initiative starting next school year. The Superintendent of the Iroquois School District, Shane Murray, knows the struggle of the district’s families. “This program will allow us to focus on the needs in our community and then move on to the education without having to do all the fundraising,” says Murray. “…Then, we can focus on our main core which is providing a quality education.”
United Way also announcing they are actively looking to hire a Director of Education to handle all that goes into providing resources for these community schools.